Friday, December 08, 2006





Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

Loralei is a wonderful human being.

Her parents named her well. She fits the name perfectly. Or did she grow into it?
Loralei is a slight woman, she has twinkly eyes that envelop you in love and humour. She always looks like she is up to mischief or is at the gate to give a melodious laugh to accentuate the end of your witty story. She has a good nature. She is always doing good for the less fortunate and never talks about it. She would never think to boost her self importance up when she helped someone who was down. She really is the Florence Nightingale of our time. She has wiped many a brow, she has brought forth so much to our world that I am blessed to call her my friend.

So, when Loralei's husband called to say he wanted to throw a party to mark her 50 years on earth, there was an overwelming response as a hundred and fifty people drove from far and wide to celebrate her marvellous life with youthful abandon. People came from as far as Dubai, people came from her hometown and we rented a car, and travelled four hours by car as we could not miss such an opportunity to celebrate Loralei's life.


It was a grand fabulous party .There was a band in her dining room that was playing some great old tunes that Loralei loved. There was dancing, there was laughter, there was endless food and long, lost, friends gathered together. We all had a few more laugh lines and a few tear stains for those who were not with us but it truly felt like an intimate family function with 150 of your most closest of friends .

Our Pied Piper was Laralei and the lilt of her laughter have us all transfixed and unified in our love of her.

With the party winding down, Loralei looked at me and said that she was so genuinely, glad that I came to her party as she had something for me.

This is so typical of Loralei, her birthday and yet she has something for me.

She took my hand and brought me into the dining room where the band had just cleared up their geer, people were still milling about and I could not figure out what she had for me. Then she pointed to a picture on the wall. It was a 40 by 46 painting.

Now, please bare with me, as I have not told you dear reader about Loralei's 'hobby'.
I LOVE Loralei, I adore Loralei, she is one of the finest people I know on this earth, I would never want to hurt Loralei, but I have a deep, dark, secret, dear reader...

A secret about Loralei.

Loralei paints pictures.

Her technique is amazing. She has the strokes right down patt.She has mastered shadows, mastered colour, she is a fine technical painter. She paints so close to the object,in such fine strokes you can not see the beginning or end of her brush.

All that being said, she never stands back to look at what she has painted.

So, all her paintings of humans are ... off... there is something not right, the faces tend to be slightly escue, the eyes off balance or ever so slightly cross eyed, or maybe the lips do not line up with the nose, or it may be something that you can not put your finger on what is wrong with the painting per say...Some how most of her subjects look a bit? A bit? Derranged.

So,when she lead me to this 40 by 46 painting. I was in shock.

'This is for you... 'she says.

I was flabbergasted... I could not tear my eyes away from it. What is it???

'Why Loralei that is just too nice, Thank you... It's it's beautiful...'

'Pendullum, I've worked on this for years, It's Scooter when she was a baby. Remember that picture you took? and I told you how much I loved it..and then you gave me a copy... Remember???' she says as she alooks at me, she has those beautiful sparkly eyes imploring me to take another look at the painting further.

It was hard to focus on the magnitude of this painting.

This portrait of a sleeping alien, with the huge bublous head and the long eyebrow was supposed to be my baby?

This 40 by 46 picture is, Scooter???

Quick Pendullum, recover, recover!!!! Loralei is still looking at me and not the painting. Waiting for me to recognize my off spring in her work.

My mind is quickly scanning through every photograph I have ever taken of my daughter trying to find something familiar something to bring me to the recognition of my daughter being the sleeping alien in front of me... And then I remember... Thank goodness! I remember!

'Ohhh, now I rememberrrrr..... New York???? Scooter was a year,,, yes! yes! Loralei that was so long ago. She is nine now. You have floored me. Brought me back!!! Yes, I am sooooo not used to thinking of her as a baby anymore.'I can now announce with confidence.

I then add,'Oh Loralei is it is far too generous. Ohhh, my gawd, it was so long ago when she was that size... I 'm overwelmed. It is so beautiful. Thank you...'

BoyWonder happens to be walking by, on his way to the kitchen to replenish his beer supply and joins us. I can not give him the low down. I do not have the chance prepare him for this. I have no time to monitor what will come out of his tadd tipsy lips....

'BoyWonder, ahhh look!!!' As I point to the alien painting. 'Loralei has giving us this beautiful painting...' I say with a manic, ,high pitched shrill of a voice so that he knows this is no joke.

Ohhhh??? And then he follows me finger pointing to the larger than life painting. He looked as though he just came upon a train wreck... A horror in the eyes, a mouth slightly agape, he could not pull your eyes away from the painting.

'Why Loalei. it is beautiful but we can not take this' he flatly states.

But you must... I insist...It is my absolute favourite picture of a baby sleeping...' exclaims Loralei.

'Well, then you must keep it!' he eagerly retorts.'We can not take something that is so generous!'

'But, ' protests Loralei, 'It's Scooter, I painted it for you guys... It's the blue matt isn't it? Too much? I knew that blue matt seemed too extreme.'

'SCOOTER?' BoyWonder says a bit louder than needed and now he turns from the portrait and is looking at me for guidance.'No Loralei, the blue matt is great! Scooter?'

'Yes, Honey, It's Scooter... It was so long ago, she's nine now but think back...' I say manically nodding at him.
"Are you sure? Are you sure it's, Scooter?' he inquires.

'Honey, it is.' I say louder than normal with a great deal of frantic enthusiasm on my face. ' Loralei painted it from a picture I took years ago... Look at the hands, Scooter still holds her hands that way when she sleeps...'

BoyWonder looks at me again like I am crazy and realizes that he better save grace. He now begins to search the painting for some semblence of our daughter. 'Ohhhh yes,' he says while nodding 'It is Scooter?'

And then Loralei's husband walks in with his martini... He, too has been a bit overserved. He walks over to us and follows our horrified stares to the painting.
He looks at the painting and states 'Isn't that the UGLIEST baby you have ever laid your eyes on?'
Loralei just looks at him
'I mean, the parents of this alien may have taken to eating thier young. Geez, that is one UUUUUUHHHHGLLLLY kid!'
'Bill?'
'Yes Loralei.'
'That's Scooter?'
'Who?'
'Scooooooter?' as she nods our way.
'Who the hell, is Scooter??? Besides the UUUGGGGLLLLIIIEST baby alive... Talking about SPAWN! Loralei WHAT?'
'Scooter is Pendullum and BoyWonder's baby.' Loralei now adopting the manic high pitched shrill of me.
'Whaaat???'
He looks at me, he looks at BoyWonder, looks at the painting...

We, BoyWonder and I, have not been able to take our eyes off the painting.

'You guys, you guys, know I was joking, Right? I mean she doesn't look like this now... I mean she is a cute kid... Right? Or does she still look like Zoltar? I mean not that this painting looks like Zoltar or anything like that.'

And for the rest of the night Bill followed us around letting us know that he was tipsy and that upon looking closer to the picture she really was a cute baby.

We were saddened the following day when we returned to the home of Lorali and Bill to find no one had yet risen and we can not pick up the painting.

We know the picture will come back to our house, as we know that we will see Loralei over the holidays and there will definitely be the great unveiling of the portrait. Probably with a great deal of pomp and circumstance from Bill.

And the alien will reside in our home in a place of honour. How oftencan one feel so much love with a gift? And when I look at it, I know that I will think of that night of friendship. And when I look at the painting, I guarantee I will see my husband's look of horror and I will see Bill with a Martini in hand,and I will see Loralei's bright, shining face above all else.I will be sent on a journey. And sometimes with art, it can take you to different places with just one image. Sometimes art just does that. It all depends on how you look at it.

55 comments:

chelle said...

Oh wow! What a beautiful gift to receive from a friend, even if their painting is less than realistic. The thought and effort that must have gone into it was enormous! Not sure how I could hang it on my own wall if I were in your shoes though!

Got to love the honesty of men!

Kristin said...

Ok, I laughed, I gasped, I am touched and cracking up... you've done me in again!

Catch said...

Thats so nice Pendellum...do you think your daughter will see herself in the painting? lol. Your friend meant well...and you handled it beautifully. You will have to take a picture of it for us. And it will bring back some great memories everytime you look at it. Friendship means so much more than pictures or anything. Its kinda like when your child goes to school and buys you some really ugly necklace at a school bizarre and you wear it because they bought it for you and you know how proud they are of it.

strauss said...

Yes indeed, what to do with a scary gift made or bought with that much thought and love...it must be received, it must be displayed...it must be cherished, because it is more that what the exterior represents.Lovely story, thanks for sharing.
Could not help be reminded of my own foot in mouth episode, when I pointed to an odd looking man in a party photo shown to me by my brother's fiancee, and I said "who is that dickhead!" Her reply...
"My DAD!"...oops.

chichimama said...

I think that you will love having the painting. Such things are cherished, sometimes despite their beginnings.

What a wonderful story, again.

Waya said...

OMG! That was priceless! I was cracking up at the honestly of men! And I was looking for the picture of the painting too. Your Scooter is so peaceful in that picture, and not at all alien looking.

carrie said...

It IS all in how you look at it. That was like a scene in a movie, really, you described it perfectly! This is the kind of stuff that I love about friendship - you two will likely laugh about this later, but what a wonderful gift!

Carrie

crazymumma said...

Babe what can I say? Scooter is going to love it, wonderboy is always going to make sardonic comments...and freakin' good on you for already finding a place in your heart for it.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

That is a funny story...

I love your friend though. So in love with life and her friends and her art.

Enjoy that painting, she spent so much time on it and loving your Scooter all the while...It is a piece of that wonderful woman's heart. On display for you to see....even if it looks like Zoltar.

Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

Beautifully written about a beautiful gift.

Christina_the_wench said...

Graciously accepting unacceptable gifts is an art form. You seem to have manage beautifully. Bravo, Pend! *clapping*

ps. You can always display the painting at Scooter's graduation party for a bit of teen embarrassment. I am currently gearing up for my daughters' in about 5 years. ;)

Christina_the_wench said...

Graciously accepting unacceptable gifts is an art form. You seem to have manage beautifully. Bravo, Pend! *clapping*

ps. You can always display the painting at Scooter's graduation party for a bit of teen embarrassment. I am currently gearing up for my daughters' in about 5 years. ;)

Christina_the_wench said...

Graciously accepting unacceptable gifts is an art form. You seem to have manage beautifully. Bravo, Pend! *clapping*

ps. You can always display the painting at Scooter's graduation party for a bit of teen embarrassment. I am currently gearing up for my daughters' in about 5 years. ;)

Andrea said...

What a thoughtful gift! I'm sure it's very beautiful, slightly off kilter and all. It makes the story behind it better anyway.

Nikki said...

OMG

I'm going to pass out I'm laughing so hard.

You have so much more grace than I.

I'll teach you how to tell people off with interesting hand gestures if you can teach me that grace under pressure stuff.

Jodi said...

Awesome story. Lorlei must love you so! As i was reading your story I was thinking of some of the paintings by Picaso or Dahli (was that his name?) and how when I look at them I see a mess, but when others look at them they see gazillion dollar pieces of art. Beauty is the eye of the beholder I suppose! And that painting will be worth at least a gazillion dollars because of the love that went into making it. :)

Chaotic Mom said...

Wow. This is the neatest thing I've read today. Every single word, I felt as if I was there. Reminds me of the portrait we had done of us for MIL one year. In all honesty, it was horrible. And I read it on her face. I think she hides it and only takes it out when we're around.

Hey, I wanted to thank you for your comments on the post re: my son. Yeah, it really does help to have Hubby and I united with my son's IEP. I'm handling what I can, helping Big Boy, but I've had to make sure Hubby understands what's going on and steps up to help, too.

Wow. I'm going to be thinking about that painting all day. She sounds a little like Big Boy and his art. And I love every piece of it. ;)

Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, wow. A wonderful gift, in a million unexpected ways...

(And what a beautiful photo - ACHINGLY beautiful photo...)

Oh, The Joys said...

That is hilarious! I can't wait to see a photo of the painting when you get it. The photograph is, of course, beautiful - as, I am SURE, is Scooter!

Wendy Boucher said...

As an artist, I have to tell you that this is the funniest thing I've read in ages. Thank you! I SOOOO can't wait to see the painting.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Oh, wow. Her heart was in the right place. And you only have to put it up when she comes over, right? Um... :)

The real picture is gorgeous!

Lawyer Mama said...

You can always make me laugh. You're just so great at telling stories. And what a nice gift. You can chuckle every time you see it!

Moobs said...

What a beautiful photograph. Your entry is written so well it is causing me physical pain that I can't see this painting.

Kim Ayres said...

The real art is in the way you tell the tale :)

CrankMama said...

You are so funny and sweet, Pendullum. Loralei sounds like a beautiful person... and if it makes her happy for you to love hte alien baby, she seems even more endearing...

Gorgeous picture (at the top of your post) btw.

Kyla said...

Hahaha! Oh my!! You must post a photo of the painting in all its glory.

"I'm talking SPAWN." Oh wow, you really had me laughing. Wow.

Momish said...

I don't know about the painting, but if it even slightly resembles that amazing picture, it must be wonderful too!

Great story!

Mimi said...

I always enjoy your blog so very much! You have the most amazing stories and you have such a good way of telling them. This particular story had me literally laughing out loud! From reading your blog now and then it seems you have been blessed to not only have a lot of great people in your life, but some very special and interesting ones. You are very blessed. I could never think of 150 people I know, let alone 150 friends to invite to a party!

I am gonna put you on my roll so I remember to come by more!:)

bananas62 said...

What a funny story and now a great conversation piece!!! Even if it might be decorating a wall in a less used room!

urban-urchin said...

you handled it really well and it was such a sweet thing for your friend to do. Bill cracked me up. Open mouth insert foot..

thanks for stopping by!

DebbieDoesLife said...

At least the painting has a history to go with it now. I believe I would only hang it when she was coming to visit though.

My MIL did the same thing for my middle child and I ended up hiding it next to the freezer in a garage closet.

kim said...

lmao ...hang it in a place of honor. it will be fun to see peoples expressions and hear their comments wont it ?

mad muthas said...

just as well you aren't cursed with having to speak the truth at all times. white lies are the glue that hold most relationships together ...

ablondeblogger said...

You are such an amazing writer! Usually when there's a long post on a blog, I get bored about two paragraphs in, but you had me riveted!

Hilarious story...you handled the situation beautifully!

Sheila said...

This is such a funny story Pendullum. I can feel your pain from way over the ocean. I wonder where you will hang it. Gosh this reminds me of something that happened recently in our house - a picture, shocking in its vulgarity, given with such grace and goodwill, somebody give me strength!

chicaloungin said...

that last line says soooo much

and no, I would never leave 2006 without a formal HAPPY HOLIDAYS PENDULLUM!!

Peace and warmth to you, you amazingly gifted writer mom wife chica!

Onward to 2007!

mad muthas said...

oh! she's tooo gorgeous!

JLee said...

A beautiful alien indeed! ;) Did I tell you I do portraits? I will post some for you sometime!

Big Pissy said...

Oh my!

That was just tooooooooo funny!

Beautiful picture of your baby. :)

Mommy off the Record said...

You can always hang the picture up for those times that your friend visits. She'll never know that you typically store it in the garage :)

But it was a nice sentiment on her part and must have taken her a lot of time.

p.s. beautiful photo

Undercover Angel said...

What a beautiful gift! The work that she has put into it will make it something you will treasure forever.

I imagine her husband probably got a good scolding after you left. I would have died if I had painted something and put so much work into it and my husband came out with a coment like that.

Domestic Slackstress said...

Sometimes perspective dictates everything.

Attila The Mom said...

Oh God, I can't stop laughing. Really. This is so wonderfully funny!

When my father was in his 2nd childhood (or manopause or mid-life crisis, take your pick) he dated a number of women who were looking to get married. This was after his third divorce, so he wasn't looking to settle down.

Many of them gave him framed photos of themselves. One even had a painting done. A big portrait painting.

He kept all of these in a closet and would call us when we got home from school. "Uh, xxxx is coming over tonight, could you put out the picture?"

Yes, he was a dog, but he didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

So we'd put out the photo, or hang the painting and whoever it was would check and see if it was in its "regular" place.

Hearing your story made me think of this. Maybe you'll have to find a special place on the wall for the alien Scooter for whenever Loralei comes to visit! ;-)

Pendullum said...

ATTILA!!!!
Your dad sounds like a real classic...
I howled when I read you comment...
Simply howled!!!

But as for everyone'skind helpful remarks about hiding the portrait and bringing out with Loralei comes over...

I know there would be a slip up... Maybe with Scooter or with BoyWonder...

If it is up...
It will be 'in grained in our woodwork'...
But brought out whenever she comes over...
Just brings back the shock of seeing it...
and the horror... the horror...ohhhh the horror...

mama_tulip said...

At first, when I started reading this, I thought the picture you posted was the painting. I was shocked -- I couldn't believe it was a painting!

Then I kept reading.

Man, you are such a great storyteller! You need to blog more often. I laughed my butt off through this post!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Oh, my. Just.. oh, my. You handled yourself so well, not betraying your horror that your beautiful child was so badly portrayed, but with such love.

My husband's sister paints, too. She did a huge portrait of him at about 19 from a photo, which completely creeps him out. Her technique leaves something to be desired.

We have reached an accommodation with the painting. When she visits (rarely) it is displayed. The rest of the time, it languishes in our closet with the guitar cases, boogie board and potting materials.

Receiving well is truly an art, but I'd like to know how Scooter feels about Lorelei's gift.

Pendullum said...

MAMA TULIP:Thank you

And Heart InSanFran: Scooter has not seen theportrait yet... It is coming... and I am in fear...

Andie D. said...

PLEASE post a picture of the painting when it comes!

The picture is so cute that I can't imagine the actual painting. Wait, I take that back. My MIL does the same thing with charcoal sketches. She did one based on my wedding portrait, and Mick and I ended up slightly cross eyed and stoned looking.

She even had the damn thing professionally framed but we've never hung it up. Never mentioned it. I want to toss it but Mick won't. Can't.

Pendullum said...

Andie:
Post your wedding pick...
Stned wedding pic would be a classic!

seventh sister said...

It reminds me of the time when my whole extended family was together for Christmas and my brother made a remark about everybody giving stinky aftershave and cologne for gifts right in front of my aunt. When he opened his gift from her it was cologne. She was apoogising and his face was bright red.

h&b said...

So ... where is the painting now ?

Seeing that lovely pic makes it hard to imagine it as something horrible and distorted !!

Sympathies to all ;)

Catherine said...

Pendullum, I can see your life on TV. Every family dinner, christmas party, birthing story that you share... they are PACKED with moments of wit, humor, compassion and sentiment. LOVED THIS.

Pendullum said...

h& b : the painting is still at Loralei's house... It is due to be broughtto our home over the holidays... I will have to ensure that Scooter is out of the house when Loralie delivers it... as I know Scooter will NOT see herself in the painting... and I just do not want to go there...

Catherine: Thank you so much!!!

Kevin Charnas said...

HHHAAAAAA!!! Holy crap. Another one. Whew...I HAVE missed you. And another occassion that I wish I had been with you, but you've done me 2nd best, you've recounted it with that Pendullum wit, charm and grace.

Pendullum said...

KEVINCHARNAS: To know you is to utterly looooooove you!!! From all of your blogger fans!!! and especially from me!!!!